The Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. health officials on Friday again urged people to stop vaping until they figure out why some are coming down with serious breathing illnesses.
Officials have identified about 450 possible cases, including as many as five deaths, in 33 states. The count includes newly reported deaths in California, Indiana and Minnesota.
No single vaping device, liquid or ingredient has been tied to all the illnesses, officials said. Many of the sickened — but not all — were people who said they had been vaping THC, the chemical that gives marijuana its high. Many are teens.
Health officials have only been counting certain lung illnesses in which the person had vaped within three months. Doctors say the illnesses resemble an inhalation injury, with the body apparently reacting to a caustic substance that someone breathed in. Symptoms have included shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain and vomiting.
The illnesses have all surfaced this year, and the number has been growing quickly in the last month as more states have begun investigations. A week ago, U.S. officials pegged the number at 215 possible cases in 25 states.
It’s unclear whether such illnesses were happening before this year.
“We’re all wondering if this is new or just newly recognized,” Dr. Dana Meaney-Delman of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told reporters Friday.